Sharmili Mallick

Dhenkanal: With school bags on shoulders and bicycles lifted overhead with both hands, students of Kalabudhia village under Kankadahad block of Dhenkanal district in Odisha have to wade across Dolia River daily to reach nearby school.

Not only students but also patients have to be carried on shoulders through the waters to nearby hospital amid lack of a bridge on the river. Locals alleged that many children and villagers have been swept away by the swelling river during the rainy season. Despite repeated appeals, the local administration is yet to take any measures to construct a bridge, claimed villagers.

“The river often gets flooded after a brief spell of rain due to which we mostly fail to attend classes. Crossing the river by carrying the cycle is quite difficult. I request the government to construct a bridge so that we can go to school regularly,” said a student Pratima Behera.

“We have to face a lot of difficulties due to the lack of a bridge. Even patients have to be carried on shoulders to cross the river. The government has utterly failed to provide basic facilities,” a resident of Kalabudhia village, Satyaban Mahanta said.

Meanwhile, Sub-Collector Bishnuprasad Acharya said “I will propose the Roads and Work (R&W) Department officials to construct a bridge under the Biju Setu Yojana. As there is a need for a big bridge, a large amount of fund is required."

On the other hand, villagers have threatened to boycott the upcoming elections if their demands are not fulfilled at the earliest.